Owner and Lead Pro
Professional Cash game trainer Bart Hanson has been producing strategy content for over fifteen years. He first started on Live at the Bike! back in 2005, then moved on to host "Cash Plays" on Poker Road, then "Deuce Plays" on Deuces Cracked and then to CrushLivePoker in 2012.
In his career as a professional poker player, Bart Hanson has:
-6 WSOP Final Tables
-Over 15 years of experience at the table
-Over $1,000,000 in tournament earnings
-Multiple appearances on ESPN and Poker Night in America
-4th place finish in 2019 WSOP Monster Stack
Things to Consider Before Playing Your Draws Aggressively
It can be difficult to know when to pull the trigger on a big bluff with a drawing hand. There are so many types of draws, from 15-out combo draws to 4-out gutshots, and understanding when and why to bluff with these hands can take a lifetime of practice to master. Fortunately, in this article we’ve narrowed it down to 2 simple things that you should consider first when deciding whether or not to barrel with a drawing hand.
Types of Draws and Outs:
There are many different types of draws, so first let's look at a couple of the basic ones. For a full list of possible draws, check out the show notes from CLP Podcast Episode 543: All About Draws.
14-Out Pair + Flush Draw Hands:
Example: K♥J♥ on a board of A♥ Q♥ J♦.
These draws are incredibly powerful, since you have so many opportunities to improve your hand on the turn or river. They can be played aggressively in certain scenarios, but sometimes you’ll have such a strong hand already that it might be better to slow down. If you turn up the aggression with a top pair and a flush draw, you may fold out too many hands that you’re dominating.
9-Out Flush Draw Hands:
Example: 8♠ 7♠ on a board of K♠ 4♠ 2♦.
Having a dry 9-out flush draw isn’t usually an automatic reason to play your hand aggressively, unless the board is more connected and favors your range. However, in multiway pots you may want to play a low flush draw aggressively, in the hopes of folding out some higher flush draws that are dominating your hand.
4-Out Gutshot Draw Hands:
Example: A♥ Q♠ on a board of J♥ T♠ 4♦.
These pure gutshots aren’t the best hands to play aggressively unless you have some kind of backdoor flush draw, or if the board absolutely crushes your range and you can represent a ton of hands.
Things to Consider Before Betting a Draw:
As a general rule, the more outs you have, the more frequently you should play your draw aggressively. Now this isn’t always the case, and you have to look at each specific situation, but generally the more outs you have, the more aggressive you can be. For example, If you have a 15-out draw, as default you can play it very aggressively in almost any situation. You’ll have great equity against almost any hand, even if your opponent flopped a set. Now, let’s look at 2 things that you should consider before betting a draw.
Think of Your Opponent’s Preflop Action and Position
Before deciding to bet or raise with a draw, you’ve got to get a clear idea of your opponent’s range. You have to understand which boards you can attack and which ones you should be more passive on, before you just start betting willy-nilly. Did your opponent raise from Under the Gun, or the Button? Did they raise to a big sizing, or small? Is your opponent a passive nit, or a super aggressive whale? Build out an idea of their range and understand how it connects with the board before attacking.
Understand the Flop Distribution
All flops aren’t created equal, and the boards that you can attack with your draws are the ones that are most connected and contain the most amount of possible 2 pairs, straights and sets for your range. You want to actually be able to represent good hands, and the more good hands you have in your range the more you can bluff aggressively with your draws.
A good example of a flop you could attack would be three consecutive cards where you’re VPIPing all the two pairs and straights. For example, you defend in the Big Blind and the flop is 8♥ 7♥ 6♣. You can represent all the two pairs, straights and sets, and can play very aggressively with your draws, check-raising and barreling versus your opponent. Compare this flop to T♣ 2♦ 3♠, what viable two pairs or straights can you have? This would be a board that you should attack much less aggressively.
Hopefully this article helped you gain a basic understanding of how to attack with your draws. If you’d like to learn more about how to play your draws, check out the full breakdown in CLP Podcast Episode 543: All About Draws.
In split pot tournaments it is tough to get knocked out. Patience and not passing the big bet street...
By Bart Hanson
Posted Jul 13, 2015
Almost all of my previous CLPTT articles have been about live no limit cash and because I am writing...
By Bart Hanson
Posted May 08, 2013